Mojomateo, Renter in San Francisco, CA

I fell down slippery steps at my apartment building and I have asked landlord for two free months rent to cover medical and missed work. Is that Ok?

Asked by Mojomateo, San Francisco, CA Thu Jan 26, 2012

It was raining and our recycling is located in back of building. Steps had no slip guard. My back broke off part of hard wood step. I suffered spinal contusion and whiplash. May need MRI. I sent nice letter thanking landlord for fixing steps and making it clear I do not want to file legal action. I asked for two months free rent to cover pain and suffering and medical. This has also affected my work. Was it OK to ask for this? Repercussions? Any advice welcomed. Thanks.

Help the community by answering this question:


You really need to discuss this with an attorney. You may have spinal issues down the road that you cannot know now without seeking medical attention. An attorney will not charge you now, and will even help find you medical attention and get your landlords insurance to cover any expenses. You may also have long term issues that you cannot know now without seeking medical attention. I would talk with an attorney who deals with injuries and see what the advice is that is recommended to you. Who knows you may be awarded a lump sum of cash for your injuries.

Have a great day;

Christina Solorzano;
CEO & SR Credit & Mortgage Consultant of
Everlasting Credit
Ex-Mortgage Broker of more than 10 years
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
Falling down the stairs can be very painful, I hope you are alright! Medical costs following a serious injury can get expensive very quickly. I would consult with a personal injury lawyer. They can provide the needed direction to receive the financial assistance you need.
Flag Mon Nov 17, 2014
This is absolutely true. If you feel this could have been avoided with proper construction, then you may want to consult an attorney. Good luck with your problem!

Seth Ashford |
Flag Wed Jul 23, 2014
You should consult an attorney for these answers. I would also be prepared to show all medical records and a letter from your doctor.

Since I'm only a real estate professional, and not an attorney - I'm going to tell you what I think (knowing that this isn't legal advice). Yes - this is ok, as long as you can show him proof that you broke your back on the steps. Especially if you have a witness that saw this happen.

Good luck and feel better soon....

1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 4, 2013
Dear Mojo:
Sorry you were hurt. Here are my questions by way of answering your:
1> Did you get checked out by a doc?
2> Did you document the stairs condition before the landlord had them repaired?
3> Has the pain subsided?
4> Did you miss any work time?
5> Do you anticipate healing 100% or any possible disability from this accident?
6> Will your personal medical insurance cover exams and treatment?

It's highly commendable that your first thought was not to run to an attorney attempting to cash in on your recent misfortune, however, if you suffer legitimate injuries, the legal process is there to help
you get fairly compensated. It's perfectly OK for you to ask the landlord to compensate you with two
months free rent, but it may be unwise for reasons mentioned by others. Before you make any final
deals, it's best for you to have all of the facts, then if you change your mind, and decide that an attorney would be helpful, you should understand the process involved with that, and that your relationship with the landlord does not need to be damaged in the process.

Best wishes for a good resolution and full recovery.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 14, 2013
Although it would be nice to be able to go through this without any legal action, I don't think that is possible. You will get more money that you will need for your medical bills, and for lost wages if you go to an attorney. If you are dead set on not taking any legal action I would at least get your landlord to sign a contract about not owing any rent for two months, but I would do more than just two months if I were you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 9, 2015
I guess I could see how that would be a fair deal. Although, I wouldn't do anything until you've talked to an attorney about it. They'll be able to tell you if it breaks in law limitations. Just make sure that you find a good lawyer that really cares about the case you're in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 9, 2015
I agree with the others who have answered here in saying that you really need a personal injury lawyer. You might feel as though it's okay to make deals with your landlord on your own, but one or both parties could end up angry about the settlement in the end. If there is no legal documentation of this issue, then there could be a complicated legal problem in the future. My advice would be to hire a lawyer to help you work out an agreement with your landlord. You may be able to get your medical expenses covered as a result of this case.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 19, 2014
Very good advice posted here. Generally negotiating terms on your own is not a good idea. With the possibility of a disabiling injury you should consult an attorney after a visit to a doctor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 13, 2014
I think that you should honestly consider taking legal action because back issues are not to be messed with. I would never want to mess with back issues that would be very painful. I think you should consider getting legal help because that will help with a lot of medical bills.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 13, 2014
I would agree that you can not overlook the seriousness of a back issue. Whenever you are injured due to negligence, a personal injury attorney should be contacted. They can provide the needed guidance to get you the compensation you deserve. I also think that you must consider the seriousness of your injury; a papercut may not require legal consultation, but falling down the stairs likely would.
Flag Mon Dec 1, 2014
I know there are certain guidelines for keeping steps safe. I don't know if there's any kind of oversight for that. I believe that they would be liable. You have to prove they didn't do their job to keep the steps safe, though.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 12, 2014
That sounds pretty serious and I would make sure that you are taken care off before you say anything more. If it comes that you need more time you should say that you will need more time to recover that you will be able to figure out what to do. Definitely find an attorney though he will be able to tell you exactly what you can get.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 12, 2014
I think it was definitely OK to ask for this. I would actually consider asking for more. There may be some serious repercussions. Have you considered an injury attorney?…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 10, 2014
The first step would be to get a personal injury attorney. That can make a world of difference honestly. It really will help you get the settlement you deserve. Do your research, and hire an attorney.
Flag Wed Nov 12, 2014
I think you should approach this with a professional attorney. You will learn more about the extend of your injuries after the MRI. You could potentially have a lot of medical bills come out of this. An injury lawyer could help you win back some of those costs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 5, 2014
Always consider a personal injury attorney before talking to any insurance company. You could contact a lawyer directory like that specializing in finding qualified attorneys in the NY state area.
Flag Sat Dec 27, 2014
I am looking for a personal injury attorney so I can be prepared in the event that something like this ever happens to me. It's nice to know people like that in whom you can trust during times like those. Best of luck to you!

Mark Leach |
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 29, 2014
This sounds very unfortunate and hurting! I think that is a fair trade. The medical bills may end up being more than rent anyways and the accident did happen on your landlords property. He should be held reliable for any accidents concerning that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 15, 2014
My a dive in three words, attorney, attorney, attorney.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 4, 2014
Not sure how this OLD question got dredged up again...but I'm glad to see there are still a few people left in the world that don't view a simple accident as a winning lottery ticket! What most people fail to recognize is that we ALL pay for those huge cash awards the ambulance chasers get their clients...higher insurance rates, higher rents to cover higher insurance rates, etc, etc. But the personal injury attorney's make a nice living off it, and a few lottery winners get a nice payout. Very sad. It's going to get to a point where nobody will be willing to provide affordable rental housing because they don't want to be liable when some tenant pours scalding hot coffee in their own lap and then sues the landlord because it happened on his property. Crazy world we live in....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 4, 2014
That would be the least you could ask for. Spinal injuries are not something to take lightly. Those can follow for the rest of your life. Be overly careful in any physical activity you do until a doctor clears you.

Michael Foster
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 13, 2014
I think that is more than OK! I had a friend do the same after the apartment after he slipped on the ice on the stairs they hadn't de-iced. He got them to cover all of the medical bills, but was nice and didn't ask for more. He should have talked to a personal injury lawyer, I'd suggest you do the same.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2014
I think you should definitely see an attorney. You don't know what your expenses and losses will be from this. I am an apartment owner and any responsible landlord will have insurance to cover these accidents
Hiring an attorney will help you make sure you minimize your loss , it does NOT have to mean you are out to take advantage of your landlord.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 16, 2014
I am so sorry about what happened. I live in an area where ice covers most of the stairs as well. I agree with everyone on here and would look into getting an attorney. You'd rather just have him check things out than to go unnoticed. Good luck!

Dean Reese |
Flag Mon Aug 4, 2014
I am so sorry to hear about your accident. I hope that your back heals well! Contacting a personal injury lawyer could be helpful. They are normally for auto accidents, but I think one could help you in this case.

Jenny Noble |
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 16, 2014
Just as others have said this is absolutely something to be discussed with an attorney. My friends brother had this exact same thing happen to him and he was able to get some pretty good compensation from the building owners. Find a good personal injury lawyer, it's in your best interest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 16, 2014
get your lawyer to draft a letter and go forward with it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 6, 2014
It never hurts to ask, but keeping it to asking. As soon as you get bossy and demand it, he will be less likely to work with you. After all, he can't control the rain and could say that it was your choice to take the risk to use the stairs in the rain.

Will Jenkins |
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2014
I am certainly not a lawyer, so first and foremost I'd say you should consider consulting legal counsel. But in my personal opinion, it certainly doesn't hurt you to ASK your landlord to give you the free rent. If I had to guess, I would think that your landlord will certainly not give it to you, but it definitely doesn't hurt to ask. The worst that could happen in my opinion is that the landlord simply says "no".
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 16, 2014
That's a great question Mojomateo! In my opinion, I think that might be a decent way to go about this. If it turns out that you are in need of a quality personal injury lawyer, the link below may be of help. I'm sure they would do a great job with cases such as these. But I really hope that your landlord agrees to give you the free rent!

Ethan Lybbert |
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 28, 2013
Under the circumstances that you described, it would appear that your request for two months rent is reasonable. What was your landlord's response to your request?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 24, 2013
We are real estate professionals and can not give legal advice. Your injury needs to be addressed with an attorney.

I believe your question to be; Was it ok to ask and not suffer repercussions? One can always ask for something and as long as you are paying your rent on time and following your lease there should be no repercussions. As for the outcome of your request is going to be determined by several factors, those of which are your proof, the insurance of the apartment, and what the attorney's will do for you and the landlord.

I wish you a speedy recovery.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 30, 2013
I would absolutely consult a lawyer and make sure that all of your actions are written out, not verbal!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 9, 2013
PS get well!
Flag Tue Apr 9, 2013
So sorry this happened to you. I see that you're located in California but if you have questions and want the advice of someone who deals specifically in this I'd talk to someone from . They deal with injuries and helped me with mine. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 14, 2013
Before even thinking about negotiating anything you need to see a doctor do the tests and take care of your injuries. Then you need to document everything (pictures of the way it was before would be a good idea) and speak to an attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 27, 2012
If your landlord agrees to waive two months rent and you discover that you have injuries that could be permanent or disabling, by accepting an offer of two months free rent you might waive your right to sue the landlord for damages.

Talk to a personal injury lawyer to determine if this is the best thing for you. Most personal injury attorneys don't charge for an initial consultation as they will take a portion (30 percent or so) of whatever settlement you would reach with your landlord. If you don't have a case, a reputable attorney will tell you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
Very sorry this happened to you. Love to help you out rental in San Francisco, however, this is totally a legal question where an attorney that specializes in this field needs to be consulted. We Realtors can offer as much help as possible in this forum. Unfortunately, this is not a question to be answered by a Real Estate agent.

Best of luck to you,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
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